SAT: Jon Jones Jailed In Battery Incident, Santa Fe Mayor Attacks Rival Over Mask Mandate, + More

Sep 25, 2021

  Former UFC Champ Jon Jones Jailed In Vegas Battery Incident - By Greg Beachamk, Ken Ritter, Associated Press

Former UFC champion Jon Jones was jailed in Las Vegas early Friday after an incident at Caesars Palace that police said led to his arrest on charges of domestic battery and damaging a vehicle.

Details of the incident that led to Jones' 5:45 a.m. arrest at the Las Vegas Strip resort were not immediately made public by Las Vegas police.

Jail and court records showed Jonathan Dwight Jones, 34, posted $8,000 bail and was due for an initial court appearance Saturday, with an Oct. 26 date for prosecutors to file criminal charges. The domestic battery charge is a misdemeanor. The vehicle charge is a felony, with damage reported at more than $5,000.

It was not immediately clear if Jones had an attorney.

Caesars Entertainment Inc. declined to comment, citing an active police investigation.

"JacksonWink Academy is aware of the allegations and is conducting its own review of the matter. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time," said James Hallinan, a spokesman for the Albuquerque, New Mexico, gym where Jones trained.

Jones lives in Albuquerque, but he attended a Thursday night UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Park MGM hotel honoring his 2013 fight with Alexander Gustafsson.

Jones (26-1, 1 no-contest) had three separate stints as the UFC's light heavyweight champion from 2011 to 2020, and he is widely considered one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. 

But his UFC career has been defined more by misbehavior outside the cage than his excellence in it.

In 2012, a year after becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, Jones was arrested for DUI after crashing his Bentley into a telephone pole in upstate Binghamton, New York.

Jones then lost his title in 2015 when he was arrested and charged with a felony stemming from a hit-and-run accident in New Mexico in which he broke a pregnant driver's arm.

Jones pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct in 2019 after an incident with a waitress at a strip club in Albuquerque, and he was arrested last year in Albuquerque on charges of aggravated driving under the influence and negligent use of a firearm.

Jones has failed several drug tests from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which runs the UFC's antidoping program. 

He was forced out of a fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 in 2016 after testing positive for two banned substances that he blamed on a sexual enhancement pill.

He then tested positive for an anabolic steroid in 2017, prompting the UFC to strip his light heavyweight title for a second time. The California State Athletic Commission overturned the result of his victory over Cormier at UFC 214, and Jones received a 15-month competitive suspension.

Because of his arrests, suspensions and various disputes with the UFC, Jones has fought only eight times in the last eight years during the ostensible prime of his career. He hasn't fought since beating Dominick Reyes in February 2020 for his fourth consecutive victory.

Jones relinquished the light heavyweight title last year and declared his intention to move up to heavyweight. He told reporters Thursday night he wants to weigh 270 pounds when he makes his heavyweight debut, hopefully next spring.

Santa Fe Mayor Attacks Rival For 'No' Vote On Mask Ordinance – Associated Press

Recriminations about face-mask mandates are creating new tension between Democratic candidates in the election campaign for mayor in Santa Fe.

In a flier distributed by mail Friday, incumbent Mayor Alan Webber highlighted a dissenting vote by mayoral candidate and City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler last year in the creation of a city ordinance requiring face masks, even outdoors, adding that Vigil Coppler cannot be trusted to be mayor.

The ordinance reinforced a statewide mask mandate from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, creating a separate petty misdemeanor. It was approved by a majority of the city council with the mayor's endorsement in the early months of the pandemic, before vaccines were available.

Vigil Coppler said Friday that she opposed the ordinance because of concerns that it would be unenforceable — while highlighting that she still supported the statewide mask requirements.

"I have never, ever been been against masks, and this is a distortion," Vigil Coppler said.

The ad from Webber's campaign says Vigil Coppler voted no on a "life-saving citywide mask ordinance."

"In the middle of a deadly pandemic, JoAnne Vigil Coppler had the chance to protect people's lives by supporting our citywide mask mandate. She voted no," the ad from Webber's campaign says.

A third candidate in the race, Republican Alexis Martinez Johnson was given a citation in July 2020 for refusing to wear a mask on Santa Fe's downtown plaza after being warned by police.

At the time, Martinez Johnson was in the midst of an unsuccessful campaign for Congress.

New Mexico currently requires face masks in public, indoor settings under a coronavirus health emergency declaration.

New Mexico Governor Tours Refugee Center, Talks Business - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham visited southern New Mexico on Friday to talk with fellow elected Democratic leaders and business groups about economic development and to tour a military base near the U.S.-Mexico border where Afghan refugees are being housed. 

The Democrat's visit was not made public until late in the afternoon. Her office said she walked through the processing area at Fort Bliss Army base, spoke with volunteers about the need for winter coats and other items for those at the facility and saw how the refugees were screened for COVID-19.

"Whenever the federal government tells us they need our help, New Mexico is ready to help these families on their way," Lujan Grisham said in a statement after the tour.

There was no indication that Lujan Grisham visited the U.S.-Mexico border while in the area. She has faced criticism in recent months for not doing more to address the concerns of residents along the border amid the latest influx of immigrants.

Republicans in New Mexico were disappointed earlier this week that she wasn't among the more than two dozen governors who signed a letter to President Joe Biden seeking a meeting about the problems that border states are facing.

Lujan Grisham, chair of the Democratic Governors Association and a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies, has said that those with concerns should direct them to the federal agencies working on the issue. 

Republican state Sen. Crystal Diamond said she and others had been asking for months that the governor visit with ranchers and others in the region. She said those pleas were ignored.

"She's not out there hearing the needs of constituents," Diamond said. "So right now we don't need candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham on the border, we need Gov. Grisham on the border who will act in her capacity as governor to provide us help."

Diamond noted that lawmakers held their legislative session earlier this year in a closed capitol with a fence around the building while the border remained open and immigrants arrived in the U.S. amid the pandemic. She said the health and safety of New Mexicans should be front and center.

"Border security isn't a partisan issue, but she has continued to make it so," Diamond said of the governor.

The governor's visit to southern New Mexico was billed by her office as a strategy session with business leaders and elected officials to talk about their concerns and how her administration can meet community needs. Meetings were held in the border community of Santa Teresa and nearby Las Cruces.

Lujan Grisham's administration has built on the work of former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to grow cross-border trade and attract more businesses to the area. According to the state, several Taiwanese businesses have announced plans in the last two years to develop manufacturing space in Santa Teresa and create a North American footprint.

The state since 2019 has directed more than $10 million in local economic development funds to Doña Ana County businesses, resulting in over 1,000 jobs. About $11 million in state job training funds have supported more than 2,500 jobs.

Airman Charged With Murder Accused Of Trying To Cover Tracks – Associated Press

A U.S. Air Force airman on trial on charges of kidnapping a Mennonite woman in New Mexico, fatally shooting her and dumping her body in northern Arizona, had tried unsuccessfully to cover his tracks after the January 2020 killing, a prosecutor told jurors Friday in opening statements.

Prosecutor Ammon Barker said Mark Gooch got his car professionally detailed, asked someone to hold onto his rifle and, two days after the killing, returned to the forest clearing outside Flagstaff, Arizona, where the body of 27-year-old Sasha Krause had been dumped and would be discovered several weeks later.

Though Gooch's cell data showed he drove from metro Phoenix to a Mennonite community in Farmington, New Mexico, and then to the Flagstaff area, the prosecutor said Gooch initially deleted his location history from a different digital account — a Google account — during the time of the killing.

"In that sense, the defendant didn't cover his tracks — he highlighted them," Barker said, adding that Gooch later deleted all location history information from his Google account.

Gooch's attorney Bruce Griffen told jurors that his client had no connection to Krause, had cooperated with investigators and wasn't trying to hide anything. "The state has really no motive whatsoever to try to suggest that a peaceful, nonviolent person who didn't know this individual would had have any reason whatsoever to abduct, let along harm," Griffen said.

Gooch, 22, was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in metropolitan Phoenix at the time. He told investigators he was near Farmington — about a seven-hour drive — when Krause went missing because he had been seeking out Mennonite churches for the fellowship. Gooch grew up in the Mennonite faith in Wisconsin but never officially joined the church, he told investigators.

Gooch maintains that he did not kidnap or kill Krause and has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping and theft charges.

Krause disappeared while going to get reading materials to prepare for an upcoming Sunday school course.

Authorities say her body was found with head injuries and in the same clothing she was wearing when she disappeared.

On the day Krause went missing, Griffen said Gooch went to Flagstaff to ski at a resort, but it was closed because of the pandemic. He then decided to drive to Farmington, realized there wasn't going to be a church service that day and headed back to to the Phoenix area, Griffen said. 

Griffen emphasized to jurors that there were no witnesses to the crimes. 

Authorities said a state crime lab report showed a bullet taken from Krause's skull was fired from a .22-caliber rifle Gooch owned. Griffen told jurors that ballistics evidence gathered in the case can't be conclusively linked to his client's rifle.

Gooch's cellphone was the only one communicating with the same cell towers as Krause's phone before hers dropped off west of Farmington, authorities said. Prosecutors aren't sure why he targeted Krause.

Other evidence from prosecutors will include text message exchanges between Gooch and his brothers where he talked about surveilling Mennonite churches in metropolitan Phoenix and praising one for ticketing a Mennonite during a traffic stop.

Albuquerque Victim Seriously Burned After Doused By Gasoline – Associated Press

Albuquerque police say they are investigating an incident that left a person with serious burns after someone doused the victim with gasoline and started a fire.

Police spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins told the Albuquerque Journal the victim was taken to the hospital Friday with "serious burns" but didn't have any information about the patient's condition.

She said officers responded to reports of the fire Friday afternoon in a West Central neighborhood. She didn't provide any information about whether anyone was in custody or whether charges were expected to be filed.

Atkins said additional details would be released as they became available.